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Anthony Di Fiore, Chair SAC 4.102, Mailcode C3200 78712 • 512-471-4206

Arlene Rosen

Professor Ph.D., University of Chicago

Arlene Rosen


  • Phone: (512) 232-2081
  • Office: CLA 4.402
  • Office Hours: Fall 2014: Mondays 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m., Wednesdays 2 p.m.-3 p.m. and by appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: C3200


Environmental archaeology, Prehistory of the Near East and China, origins of agriculture, climate change and society, phytoliths, geoarchaeology.

ANT 324L • Archaeology Of Climate Change

31330 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm SAC 4.174
(also listed as GRG 356 )
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Modern Western Society is not the first to be impacted by and pushed to the brink by a changing climate.  The anthropology and archaeology of past societies world-wide provide innumerable examples of societies which have found sustainable solutions to problems of chronic floods and droughts caused by abrupt climatic changes, as well as long term solutions to adverse secular changes in climate and environment, These adaptations are manifested at both the institutional and local or individual level where individual decision-making and ethical environmental actions have contributed to sustainable adaptations to climate change in the past.  We have much to learn from past societies by understanding the kinds of resilient strategies that allow the survival of sustainable economies, political systems and social institutions in times of adversity.


This course will provide a deep-time perspective on how and why climate and environmental changes have required human societies to adapt over the past 20,000 years until the present day, and also how humans throughout this time period have impacted their environments.  We will examine why climate has changed in the past, the methods for recording climate change, and provide case studies about the responses of past human societies to climate change in different geographic regions and time periods with varying socio-political and economic systems. Some topics include the impact of climate change in the development of Homo sapiens, the role of climate change in the origins of agriculture, did climate change lead to the collapse of the Maya, Akkadian Empire, and the Tang Dynasty? Finally, we will focus on sustainable solutions undertaken by past societies that can be informative for developing better current and future sustainable lifeways in the face of global warming.




ANT 380K • Geobotanical Techs Archaeology

31540 • Fall 2013
Meets TH 200pm-500pm CLA 3.102
(also listed as GRG 396T )
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This course is an introduction to geoarchaeological and archaeobotanical methods used in the reconstruction of past landscapes, the use of sediment and botanical analysis in paleoenvironmental reconstruction, and the study of sediments and plant remains in archaeological contexts. The aim is to provide a basic expertise in botanical and earth sciences techniques for answering archaeological questions.

This is a lecture and laboratory-based course in which the students will receive a basic foundation in geoarchaeological and archaeobotanical research questions, sampling at archaeological and paleoecological sites and geo-sections, and learn laboratory techniques for processing and analyzing geoarchaeological and paleobotanical samples. On successful completion of this course students should have an overview of, and practical experience in a wide range of techniques in Geo-botanical archaeology including basic granulometry, micromorphology of thin-sections, geochemical analyses such as measuring pH, magnetic susceptibility, phosphate analyses, pollen, phytoliths, starches, and the analysis of charred macro-botanical remains. They should be familiar with the strategies and methods for collecting sediment and botanical samples from archaeological excavation sites and off-site paleoenvironmental sections and cores.



ANT 380K • Interprtg Cul Envirs Past/Pres

31422 • Spring 2013
Meets T 200pm-500pm SAC 5.124
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This seminar course is an introduction to some of the major guiding anthropological concepts concerning relationships between past human societies, culture and the ‘natural world’. The course will include lectures, readings and discussions on ecological concepts and processes, human ecodynamics, landscape sustainability, landscape heritage, human perceptions and symbolization of their environments, political ecology, human behavioral ecology, the ecology of colonialism, and human impacts on the environment. Throughout the course we will discuss how to generate problem-driven research based on the above concepts using the technical skills of environmental archaeology. 

ANT 380K • Archaeology Of Climate Change

31297 • Fall 2012
Meets M 200pm-500pm SAC 5.124
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This course will cover how and why climate change has impacted human societies over the past 20,000 years until the present day. We will examine why climate changes, the methods for recording climate change, and discuss case studies of the varied responses of past human societies to climate change in different geographic regions and time periods with varying socio-political and economic systems. We will discuss aspects of resilience and rigidity of societies, and issues of environmental sustainability. Finally we will compare and contrast modern responses to climate change on a global scale with those of past societies. 

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